The following is an excerpt from my book How to Raise a Happy Family A Parent’s Guide.

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In the kitchen

Another family project that works great at our house is making pasty. A pasty is a traditional Cornish meat and potato pie that the Finns have adopted.

Pasty making gets everyone in the kitchen. Some peel potatoes, some peel carrots, someone peels onions, another cuts rutabaga, someone squishes the garlic, someone opens the pasty meat, and someone sets up meat grinders. Then we switch gears and start cutting veggies so they fit into the grinder and someone feeds the grinder while two others turn the handles.

With two huge bowls full of vegetables, onions, and meat, four hands dig in and mix them while Mom puts in the salt and pepper. Mom makes the crust, and the girls help roll out the dough into circles. Several join the assembly line: put a heaping cup of meat and veggie mixture, fold over the dough, trim it, pinch the edges, and transfer it to a cookie sheet.

We can hammer out 50 pasties in good time and it tastes so much more delicious with all the extra love put in with the ingredients. We’re lucky to get a few great meals out of all this togetherness.


Pasty CRUST (X 3 = 22 pasties)

  • 4 sticks of butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 eggs

Cut butter into flour. Add remaining ingredients and mix with fork until combined. Work dough by hand, until smooth and slightly sticky. Add a little flour if necessary. Do not overwork.


  • 10 lbs. potatoes
  • 5 lbs. carrots
  • 2 large onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 medium rutabaga
  • 5 lbs. pasty meat (coarse  
  • ground mixture of beef & pork)
  • 4 T salt
  • 3 t pepper

Peel vegetables and onion. Cube, use meat grinder, or put through food processor. Divide into two very large bowls. Add meat, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well.

Flour surface generously. Roll dough in 8 to 10 inch circle. Flip dough over and add more flour to surface while rolling. The more the dough is handled, the tougher it gets.

Place 1 cup of filling on half of circle and fold dough over filling, forming a half moon. Be careful not to tear holes in top of crust caused by overfilling. Using a butter knife, trim dough 1/2″ from edge of meat and vegetable mixture. Press edges together and crimp the dough, similar to a two crust pie. When scooping filling, be careful not to scoop the juices at bottom of bowl. Juices will leak  out, causing the bottom of pasty to burn.

Lift with metal spatula and place on cookie sheet, leaving space between pasties. Bake at 375° for 1 hour. Serve with butter and ketchup.

Pasty freezes very well for a meal later. To freeze, reduce original baking time to 30 minutes, cool completely and wrap in tin foil. To reheat, unwrap, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 350°. Does not need to thaw first. Crust will be light and flaky if baked in oven. Crust will be soft if reheated in microwave.

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